Ahead of WSU-UW hoops clash, mostly silence out of Montlake and Pullman

AHEAD OF an Apple Cup rivalry clash on the hardcourt, there is mostly silence. That is a bad thing for both Washington State and Washington.

Heading into the regular season finale for both teams (8 p.m. ESPN U) Washington State is riding a 15-game losing streak.  UW has lost six of their last seven.  The Cougs’ losing streak began with a 99-95 overtime loss to the Huskies. The Dawgs are 4-9 since.

A couple weeks ago, UW looked poised to end its 5-year drought in the NCAA tournament, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi projected the Huskies as a No. 10 seed. Short of winning the conference tourney and claiming the automatic bid, the Huskies' chances of going dancing are about the same as the Pac-12 publicly admitting fault in its officiating.

Meanwhile, the Cougars have only rarely been even competitive over the same time frame, with the low point an 88-47 thrashing at Utah.

Both teams desperately need the win. Will that, combined with the rivalry, result in some inspired play on Thursday?

Maybe. Eight of the last nine meetings between the Cougs and Huskies have been decided by five points or less.

But it's probably a stretch to forecast a ball handling showcase.  WSU and UW are at the bottom of the Pac-12 in turnovers per game, averaging 14.2 and 14.3, respectively.

Does Las Vegas know something we don’t?  UW was favored at home by 13 points earlier in the week.  The line has since dropped to 11 1/2.
UW will be getting their first look at Valentine Izundu (pictured above). The Cougar center was out injured and didn’t play in the earlier meeting. If recent games are any indication, they won’t see him for long. Izundu has been whistled for quick, early fouls of late, often picking up two in the game’s first five minutes and forced to head to the bench.

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